DODGING THE WIRE…
“Keep low,” warns Hannibal Heyes.
“I’m tryin’,” grunts an encumbered Kid Curry, shuffling forward on elbows and knees.
“Don’t drop it.”
The cornflower blue eyes direct a glowering look at Heyes. Since the boys are outside and the time is close to midnight, this look is entirely wasted.
“Keep low – get your butt down!”
A second glower. Then…
“OW!” yelps Curry, punctured in a delicate area.
“I told you to keep it down.”
“Why the Sam Hill can’t you hold it higher?” protests Kid.
Heyes looks at the wire between his gloved fingers. A moonbeam glints, dimly, on a spike.
“It’s sharp, Kid.”
“Yeah, I noticed!”
“It’s kinda hard to get a firm grip. Without getting scratched, that is.”
A more than scratched Kid Curry inhales deeply, in search of patience. “You got a knife in
your boot, don’tcha?”
“Why don’tcha just cut it?”
“Kid!” Heyes’ voice is full of reproof. “Since 1884 cutting barbed wire is a felony. We’ve gone straight – we don’t do that anymore.”
Curry rolls his eyes.
“Hurry up,” urges Heyes. “We’ll be late. And, keep your butt down.”
“Tell you what, Heyes…” Curry’s earlier search for patience clearly failed. “Since I’m doin’ it all wrong, you come carry this – I’ll hold the wire an’ give annoyin’ advice. How’s that sound?”
A reproachful blink of the brown eyes. “There’s no need to get proddy.”
“Yes there is! I said we oughta leave sooner. We coulda done this before nightfall.”
“But we hafta dodge the wire…”
“Heyes, I’m tryin’ – but unless you hold it higher…”
“Not just THIS wire, the other wire.”
“What other wire?” Curry delivers a baleful glare at the barbed metal strands he is currently attempting to wriggle beneath. “Don’t tell me there’s another row.”
“The metaphorical wire.”
“The time wire – midnight. We hafta deliver this…” Heyes gestures at the cream laden confection carried by the Kid. “…Just before her birthday.” Reprovingly, “You do want to give her this?”
“’Course I do!” protests Curry, hotly. “You know I do! She’s one of my favourite gals.” He reads the message picked out on the cake in tiny scarlet sugar roses; ‘Many Happy Returns, Remuda, from Both Saddle Talk Boys’. An affectionate, not to say slightly daffy, smile lights his face. The blue eyes soften, tenderly.
“And, she’s the Wire Dodger Extraordinaire – so it’s only right that her birthday gift from us just dodges the wire too. It’s – it’s…” Heyes searches. “It’s just fitting, that’s all.”
Curry’s brow furrows as he thinks this through. A shrug. Well, as much of a shrug as a man can give while crouching on knees and elbows below vicious barbed wire and simultaneously carrying a multi-layered sponge cake. “Okay,” he agrees.
“So keep low, hurry up – let’s get to her place. And…” Heyes frowns as his partner creeps forward. “Mind those dang candles.”
Kid Curry flinches as a flame flickers close to his left eyebrow. “Beats me why the Sam Hill you lit ‘em before we get there…”
Xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx
HAPPY BIRTHDAY REMUDA
Hoping this makes it under the wire, time zones willing